All Trainees that attend a Route28 Summit will be involved in a proposal competition. The simple goal behind a competition is to promote hypothesis driven discussions, motivated student-faculty interaction, and, most importantly, facilitate collaborative brainstorming between participants. Although these interactions are intended to be fun and informal, there will be three prizes to be given to the three teams that assemble the most creative and compelling proposals. We have several recommendations (rules) intended more for the Faculty Proposal Reviewers than for the participants. Trainees should focus first and foremost on having fun, being creative and overall, learning from the faculty and from each other. The Trainees will work on one of three problems to be addressed during the workshop.
The most significant asset of a Route28 Summit is access to some of the most influential scientists in neurobiology. The challenge will be to use this resource to bridge the gap between basic neurobiology and the practical application of science in a clinical context. Problems are chosen that have not found a solution in "real life". The ultimate goal is, therefore, not to contemplate a solution to the problem itself, but to develop a strategy on how each problem could be scientifically tackled.
Criteria for the evaluating these proposals will be the originality of the approach, its suitability and feasibility, and the spectrum of aspects addressed. It is not the most wild or expensive proposal that will win over the reviewing faculty, but one that shows unconventional thinking and novelty with just enough scientific support to "connect-the-dots". Those things that, due to the constraints of the conventional reviewing process, one might not dare to put into a traditional grant application are the ideas most appropriate for the Route28 Summits.
One of the objectives of the brainstorming promoted in a meeting such as the Route28 Summits is to bring young scientists together with established senior scientists and foster new contacts and lasting interactions. There are significant problem-solving strategies available to groups of individuals with widely diverse backgrounds that are virtually absent from even the best training environments.
There is no "right" solution but a good solution is the one you think is optimal to achieve the effect while being as simple, elegant, and as novel as possible.